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San Juan Islands trip advice, please

Montreal, Canada
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San Juan Islands trip advice, please

We are planning to visit the San Juans mid-Sept. We will be arriving via Victoria BC (Sydney, actually) and returning thru Vancouver airport. Due to the limited ferries we will be flying by charter in and out of Friday Harbor. Questions: We want to avoid renting a car if possible so how much touring by bike, foot and ferry can we do over 4 days? Is Friday HArbour the most convenient place to stay or should we consider one of the other islands as our base? We hope to kayak, bike and hike. What are the must-see/must-do outdoor activities that do not include sitting in a motorized boat? Also need vegetarian-friendly restaurants. Prefer local ambiance..not touristy.

Thanks

Green Valley...
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1. Re: San Juan Islands trip advice, please

"We"? Kids? If so, ages. Reason for asking: San Juan Island roads have some traffic and no bike lanes, so biking street smarts is important.

You can cab, bike, bus on SJI, the latter's schedule and drop off points is quite convenient. Personally, I'd rent a car for flexibility. It's a fairly large island with much to see and to do, and you'll probably return to some places several times (e.g., Lime Kiln Point State Park).

Lodging is available all over the island, but if w/o a car, perhaps Friday Harbor area is best.

Lopez is a great, quiet, mellow, biking island.

Orcas is for hardy bikers, lots of hills. With a car, go to top of Mt. Constitution (good hiking as well, gratifying at the top), drive around island to the homes of many artists/crafts.

I prefer SJI as a base, IMO, more to see/do, but also a good place for whale watching. From SJI, I'd ferry to Lopez and Orcas, see the sights and return. You have plenty of time for all three, enjoy.

You'll find lots of information on these websites. Keep your questions coming.

San Juan Islands (Information on the several major islands, with key websites.)

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g58727-c102104/San-Ju…

An official and very helpful guide to the islands.

http://www.visitsanjuans.com/

Hiking in the San Juan Islands, WA

thesanjuans.com/…20Anacortes.htm

Edited: 16 August 2011, 02:42
Green Valley...
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2. Re: San Juan Islands trip advice, please

Here is the bus schedule, nicely detailed.

http://www.sanjuantransit.com/schedules.html

Montreal, Canada
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3. Re: San Juan Islands trip advice, please

No kids, we are avid cyclists and bike smart daily in Montreal. We have biked in the Gulf Islands and discovered that as soon as you exit the ferry docks one can expect a climb....Thanks for the great links. Unfortunately the bus schedule ends on Sept 4th and we only arrive on Sept 15th. I have also started looking at some of the water taxi services (they seem a bit pricey) but am wondering if the lesser known islands (Lummi, Sucia) are worth a visit?

Green Valley...
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4. Re: San Juan Islands trip advice, please

Lummi, IMO, no, very limtied, see the article.

Sucia, boat only access.

Yep, except for SJI itself, it's a climb from the ferry.

Green Valley...
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5. Re: San Juan Islands trip advice, please

Got interupted while editing the above.

"limited"

Bring beverage/sandwiches, you won't be near stores once you start biking.

Lopez: learn "the wave". :) Great biking, bike shops, maps available for bikers.

SJI: you'll be fine, worth having a pennant on the bikes.

Edited: 16 August 2011, 04:25
6. Re: San Juan Islands trip advice, please

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